History & Culture

Unearthing the Underground Railroad

A chapter in our nation's history is preserved at the Shawnee National Forest.

Just as trains in cities connect people to places, a very special kind of railroad in the Eastern Region National Forests once connected people to freedom.

Pre-Civil War America. A time when slaves seeking freedom and hope in the northern states risked their lives to flee the south through a network of escape routes - a network known as the "Underground Railroad".

In the Eastern Region evidence of the Underground Railroad remains today. At the Shawnee National Forest in Illinois employees and volunteers excavated and cleaned up a cemetery at Miller Grove, a pre-civil war African American community, and Lick Creek, a free black settlement with ties to the Underground Railroad.

The Forest Service helps keep the memory of this chapter in our nation's history alive.